Friday, 21 June 2013

Red Velvet Cake with Rosette Cream Cheese Frosting

Posted by Kejia:

June 13th was my elder sister's birthday! A few weeks earlier, I shoved Alison Thompson's BAKE into her face and told her to choose a cake for her birthday. Unsurprisingly, she chose her favourite red velvet cake. I've been prepping myself for this cake for the longest time... I was too excited that I had trouble sleeping the past few nights before baking the cake. It was my first time making a serious, intense four-layered cake(unlike the simple two-layered Japanese Strawberry Shortcake) I thought I was being ambitious by wanting to try out the rosette piping design as well. But after thousands of tutorials and videos, I did it! It's not completely perfect, but at least it's something. I guess it's pretty good for a first-timer! :-) 

So I'm sure most of us are confused over what red velvet really is. Is it just chocolate cake with lots of red dye? Nope. According to Sally from Sally's Baking Addiction, "Traditional red velvet desserts aren't vanilla or chocolate flavoured. They are a combination of the two with a slightly tart tang from the buttermilk used in most recipes. Red velvet cake is sort of like a dense buttery vanilla cake with a mild chocolate flavor. And when it's done right, it's daaaaarn good.". Well, I  gotta agree with her. This red velvet cake was super amazing. The cake was perfectly moist and had the right balance of chocolate and vanilla, coupled with the tang of the buttermilk. The cream cheese frosting, ah - it was heavenly. It was creamy, sweet, and tangy - minus the gross oily aftertaste. 

Again, this cake recipe is from the ever-so-trustworthy Alison Thompson, so don't expect any disappointment. :-) Because I wanted to pipe on the cream cheese, I had to make sure it's shape would hold, so I got a "pipable" cream cheese frosting recipe from Caseycooks. Similarly, she also made a rosette designed cake(which looks much better, btw). Kind of my source of inspiration. :-) 

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Alison Thompson's BAKE
Adapted from Caseycooks

Ingredients for cake:
1 cup(250g) unsalted butter, softened
2 2/3 cups(600g) sugar
4 eggs
1 cup(100g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup(80ml) red liquid food colouring
1 2/3 cups(400ml) buttermilk 
4 cups(600g) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons white vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment baking paper/grease with cooking spray or butter.
2. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on high speed for 5 minutes until pale and creamy. And the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Combine the cocoa, vanilla, and red food colouring in a small bowl, then add this to the butter mixture and mix on low speed to combine well.

I used 3.5 bottles of food colouring............... Maybe I'll opt for a healthier beetroot version next time.

4. Add half the buttermilk and half the flour, and mix on low speed. Add the remaining buttermilk and flour, mix well, then add the baking soda and vinegar, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

5. Divide the mixture between the two cake pans and spread out evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool in pans for 30 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

6. Split each cake into two layers using a serrated knife and use a palette knife to spread with a sixth of the cream cheese frosting. Place another cake layer on top and spread with another sixth of the frosting. Repeat the process with one more cake layer. Put the top cake layer on top and press gently to ensure it is level. Spread some cream cheese frosting over the entire cake; make sure it is not too thick of a layer. This is the crumb coat, to lock in the crumbs. Refrigerate for 45 minutes, or until the frosting does not stick to your finger when you touch it. 

7. Frost as desired. 

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:
900g cream cheese, softened
227g unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix. 

2. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar. 

Yeap, lots of powdered sugar!!!

3. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before piping. 

I used a 1M Wilton tip to pipe on the rosette design. Here is a good tutorial for piping these rosettes. They aren't as hard as they look!!! A few rosettes and I got past the "difficult" stage :-) I filled in the gaps between the rosettes with little frosting stars. 

Here is a not-so-good shot of the cake after it was cut! Pardon me for the bad lighting and horrible exposure, this photo had to be taken with flash because it was at night when my sister cut the cake. The cake is actually redder than it looks in this picture.

But look at those layers! So beautiful! :-) I feel really proud of myself. Not bad for a beginner baker! 

Kejia(Currently addicted to cutting cake layers and frosting cake. I WANT to practice!!!)


  1. Hi, i was wondering. How much do i need to add to the ingredients to make 9 inch cakes? Beginner here :)

    1. Hello. This recipe can make a 9-inch cake!

  2. My frosting refuses to thicken. Is it Lbs instead of cups for the confectioners sugar by chance?

    1. Hi! It's in cups, not Lbs. Did you make sure to refrigerate the frosting? Maybe you can let it set in the fridge for a longer amount of time!

  3. Hi. This cake is beautiful.
    Above frosting recipe is enough to coat the cake and do the rosetts?
    Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Hello! Thank you so much!! Yes, the frosting recipe is just right for the cake + rosettes! :-)

  4. Hi

    With regards to your Cream Cheese frosting recipe, for two cups of powdered sugar, can I half the cream cheese and butter ? Any idea if it would still turn out in the right consistency? its for a smaller cake...

    And if there is extra frosting, can it be freezed for later use?

    1. Hello! Yes, you can halve the cream cheese and butter, and the consistency will still be the same. And yup, you can put it in an airtight container and freeze it up for to 3 months. When ready to use again, take out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Before you frost the cake, let the buttercream come to room temperature and give it a good stir before piling it on! :-)

  5. love it! how long will the rosettes frosting lasts and hold its shape on the counter? cheers!

    1. Thank you! If you've refridgerated your cake, it should last on the counter for about 30-45minutes depending on the weather. Here in Singapore, it can never hold its shape for too long without air conditioning!

  6. Hi! been finding a red velvet cake recipe for the longest time. Can i check with you if i can replace icing sugar instead of powdered sugar for the frosting?

  7. Hello there! Yes, icing sugar and powdered sugar are the same :-) Sorry for the late reply, hope your cake turns out wonderful!


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